Norfolk, Va. (July 26, 2019) --- Delaware State linebacker Brian Cavicante (sr.; Portsmouth, Va.) has been selected as the 2019 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Football Preseason Defensive Player-of-the-Year, in voting by league head coaches and sports information directors announced during the league’s annual kickoff luncheon today.
Joining Cavicante on the 2019 Preseason All-MEAC First Team are fellow Hornets Jahad Neibauer (sr.; LB; Harrisburg, Pa.) and Kaiden Crawford (sr.; OL; Phila., Pa.).
Delaware State defensive end Christian Johnson (sr.; Stone Mountain, Ga.), along with Hornet punter Fidel Romo-Martinez (sr.; Banning, Cal.) and his brother placekicker Jose Romo-Martinez (r-so.; Banning, Cal.) are second team picks.
The Hornets are represented on the 2019 Preseason All-MEAC Third Team by tight end Isiah Williams (sr.; Bronx, N.Y.) and defensive back Devin Smith (sr.; Washington, D.C.).
Cavicante was an All-MEAC First Team selection in 2018 when he was second in the league in total tackles (89) and third in tackles-per- game (8.1). In addition, he was second in the conference with 17 tackles-for-loss and tied for third with 50 unassisted tackles.
The last Hornet to earn MEAC Preseason Player-of-the-Year honors was wide receiver Justin Wilson in 2011. Joe Burton (DB) was the last Hornet selected as postseason MEAC Defensive Player-of-the-Year.
“Brian is a born leader, more like a coach on the field,” said Delaware State head coach Rod Milstead of Cavicante. “He’s an intelligent player and works as hard as anyone. We’re counting on him to help the way for what I believe will be a solid defense this season.”
Neibauer ranked second on the Hornets and was tied for 14th in the MEAC in tackles at 6.4 per game (70 total) during 2018 season. He also tied for eighth in the conference with 10 passes defended (7 break-ups + 3 interceptions).
Crawford, also a 2018 All-MEAC Third Team selection, helped pave the way to a No. 2 MEAC ranking in rushing offense for the Hornets at 187.9 yards per game in 2018 (2067 yards total). DSU’s 2,018 yards per-game and total rushing yards were the most by the team since averaging 191.3 ypg and tallying 2,104 in 2006.
Johnson was tops among returning DSU defensive linemen with 33 total tackles, including 16 solo stops in 2018 and tied for fifth on the Hornets with 5.5 tackles for loss last season.
Fidel Romo-Martinez averaged 41.3 yards on 38 kicks, including nine of 50-or-more yards and seven inside the opponents’ 20-yard line in 2018. His best kick was a 70-yarder against FBS Western Michigan last season.
Jose Romo-Martinez was eight-for-11 on field goal attempts (72.7%) as a redshirt freshman in 2018. He ranked eighth in the MEAC in scoring among kickers with 44 points (4.0 ppg). He nailed career-best 49-yard field goal, tied for third-longest in team history, vs. NCA&T and was 20-for-20 on extra-point kicks a year ago.
Williams was fourth on the Hornets with 12 receptions for 97 yards and one touchdown as a junior in 2018, while Smith was fourth on the team in total tackles (55) and tackles for loss (6), third in solo stops (41) last season.
Howard University quarterback Caylin Newton (jr.) is the voter’s choice for 2019 MEAC Preseason Offensive Player-of-the-Year after capturing the award for the 2018 season last November.